MBTA Service Cuts: These Changes Are Coming to the Winter Schedule

Citing a shortage of bus and train operators, the MBTA announced service changes to the Mattapan Trolley and 31 of its 171 bus routes effective Dec. 19

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The MBTA says it has to cut down on services because of the continued national driver shortage.

The organization's service planning division held a virtual meeting Wednesday evening, announcing bus and train routes to be impacted.

"Delays are really frustrating, trying to get to work and such," said Rico St. Paul, a frequent rider of the Mattapan Trolley.

St. Paul isn't thrilled about the MBTA's latest service announcement. The Mattapan Trolley will take two minutes longer to arrive to his stop during the times he needs it the most.

"It would make it very difficult to just get to work," he said. "I usually get here on time as long as the trolley is moving frequently."

The Mattapan Line is the only train impacted by the MBTA new winter schedule. They said they can't hire enough drivers to keep up with attrition.

"It will definitely affect my morning commute and my commute home. Especially with the weather change, and we have seen some changes recently that have impacted the amount of people in the trolley. It was standing room only," said Caitlyn Kelly, who rides the Mattapan Line to get to work.

The changes are also affecting buses routes. Thirty-one of the 171 routes will see a decrease in frequency, with only a handful of routes actually seeing an increase.

"This means more people are going to be waiting for the buses in the streets. There's going to be longer wait times for the buses and more crowded buses as a result of this shortage," said Enrique Pepen, community engagement coordinator of Transportation for Massachusetts.

Public transit expansion advocates like Pepen, and A Better City CEO Rick Domino, hoped things would move forward by now with the return of the workforce.

"They should also be trying really had to make those bus driving jobs as attractive as possible," Domino said.

The MBTA discussed the changes to their winter schedule during the virtual public meeting, where it took public comments while looking for ways to avoid further setbacks in service.

Open bus operator jobs with the MBTA are paid $21.13 per hour.

The full list of changes to the winter schedule was posted online Wednesday on the MBTA's website. The changes take effect on Dec. 19.

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